PETITION TO REFER THE ISLAMIC STATE’S LEADERSHIP TO THE ICC

I signed an online petition today that has collected tens of thousands of signatures calling for international partners to refer the Islamic State to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. A few hours after I signed the petition, this automated reply from the British Foreign Secretary arrived:

“Thank you for your email.

The Foreign Secretary is receiving a large volume of emails on Iraq and abuses being carried out by actions by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). He regrets that he is unable to reply personally to each one.

The Foreign Secretary shares the concerns of many in the UK about the suffering of civilians in Iraq and condemns in the strongest possible terms the atrocities that are being committed by ISIL. They are targeting people of all religions and ethnicity, different ages, male and female, including the most vulnerable.

We now have confirmed reports that ISIL continues to kidnap large numbers of people, mostly women, and credible information that women and children are being held by ISIL in a number of locations. We have confirmed reports that some women have been executed, possibly because they refused to change their religion, while others have been sold or allocated as slaves. We are also receiving distressing reports from displaced persons fleeing ISIL of family separation and their heinous crimes.

We utterly condemn the acts of horrific violence and slavery reportedly being carried out by ISIL in areas under its control. These are serious breaches of the Geneva Conventions and all parties to the conflict must do everything in their power to prevent them and to protect the civilian population.

The Government is working closely with the United Nations, the Iraqi authorities and international partners to ease the humanitarian situation in Iraq, including providing humanitarian support assistance to displaced people, many of whom have been the victims of ISIL’s abuses and persecution.

Internationally, the UK chaired an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council on 7 August to discuss ISIL’s attacks and the humanitarian situation. The UK Government has driven UN Security Council Resolution 2170, which was unanimously adopted at the UN Security Council on 15 August. This builds on our strong contribution to the humanitarian response to the current crisis in Iraq by providing measures to choke ISIL’s recruitment and financing and sanctioning ISIL individuals.

Any decision to refer to the International Criminal Court must be made on the basis of what will be the most effective means to bring the perpetrators of these atrocities to account. We will look at every available option to ensure accountability and to work with our international partners on what can be done to both assist the victims and to bring those responsible to justice.

If you have contacted the FCO as a member of the public, thank you for your email. Your email will be forwarded to the relevant part of the FCO for reply.”

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